Giraffe Uno aims to be number one with the females
Wednesday 20 July 2011
A new male giraffe at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is learning to “walk tall” to gain the attention of the females in the paddock, where he’s one of the smallest in the group.
Uno - which means number one - is nine-years old and is a bit smaller and less muscular than the average adult male. But what he lacks in stature, his keepers say he makes up for in spirit.
Keeper Louise Jackobsen, who has been looking after Uno since he arrived this month from Norway, said: “He’s already showing an interest in the females and is not put off by their size. Since he has arrived he’s been eating extremely well and is as calm as a rock.”
Uno comes to Whipsnade as the zoo’s breeding male and will be “sizing up” the existing females – Savannah, who has had two calves already, Ina and Ijuma.
Mating among giraffes is not a complicated courtship. In the wild males would pick up the scent of a fertile female by their hormones. “They also like to taste their urine, before mating, which happens here too,” said Louise.
For the time being the group will enjoy roaming their green paddock and munching together from their high feeding posts, tasting all kinds of trees. Visitors can see them close up during the summer season, as well as taking in the array of talks, shows and activities throughout the coming school summer holidays.